A couple weeks ago, the Times of London reported that the battery in the Nissan Leaf cost the automaker around $9,000 to produce. We covered the story here, but were hesitant to agree with what seemed to be an incredibly low price. We went with the story because Nissan had told us that a profit will be made on each Leaf sold, so the low battery price partially made sense. We were still skeptical of the numbers though, apparently with good reason, because a new report pegs the battery cost at around double the previously reported amount. Mark Perry, Nissan's chief product planner for North America, tells The Wall Street Journal that the actual cost is a little less than $750 per kilowatt hour, bringing the total to just below $18,000.
One myth aside, let's move on to the "profit on each Leaf sold" statement. Again, the constant skeptic in us said that there is no way that Nissan can profit from each Leaf, at least not right away. Nissan has clarified this one, too, as the company's U.S. sales and marketing chief Brian Carolin stated, "Over the course of the vehicle life, it is profitable – in year three." So, Nissan has now confirmed what most of us had anticipated all along: batteries are expensive and profits are hard to come by. None of this really detracts from the Leaf's appeal, it simply means that Nissan won't immediately become rich off its first electric vehicle. But you knew that, right?